Trauma Informed Training: Why it's Important in Breathwork

Published on
October 30, 2023

Why is trauma informed training important in breathwork?

Breathwork is a powerful modality for healing and personal growth, but it is important for practitioners to be aware of the potential impacts of trauma on their clients. Trauma can have a profound effect on an individual's physical, emotional, and mental health, and it is essential for breathwork practitioners to be trauma-informed.

Trauma-informed breathwork facilitation is an approach to breathwork that recognizes the prevalence and impact of trauma. It involves understanding the physiological and psychological effects of trauma and integrating trauma-informed principles into breathwork sessions to create a safe and supportive environment for clients.

What does trauma informed training mean in breathwork?

At One Breath Institute, we believe that trauma-informed training is essential for helping individuals heal and grow in a safe and empowering way. This approach to breathwork recognizes that trauma can impact the way individuals experience their breath and their body, and that a trauma-informed approach can help individuals feel safe and supported as they engage in the healing process.

Trauma-informed training is an approach to education and training that recognizes the prevalence and impact of trauma both on an individual and collective level. This approach emphasizes safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment as essential components of healing and recovery for individuals who have experienced trauma.

Breathwork is growing in popularity on a global scale!

Due to the combination of breathwork gaining in popularity and a lack of regulation in the field of breathwork, breathwork schools are ‘popping up’ everywhere–many of which are created and led by unqualified persons claiming that someone can become certified over a weekend workshop or through short online training or course. This is damaging to the profession of breathwork, and more importantly, it is damaging to those who end up having a negative experience from attending a breathwork session facilitated by someone who doesn’t know how to hold safe space or support them when they experience a trigger (which may be trauma related or anything that feels difficult).

Some of the negative experiences that people may have during or after a breathwork session include:

  1. Re-experiencing Trauma: Breathwork can bring up memories of past traumatic experiences, which can be challenging and overwhelming for some individuals. It is essential for practitioners to be trained in trauma-informed care for participants to have a safe and supportive environment.
  2. Physical Discomfort: The focused breathing involved in breathwork may sometimes cause physical discomfort such as dizziness, tingling sensations, and muscle cramps. Participants may also experience shortness of breath or a feeling of ‘suffocation’ when processing a past traumatic event.  A trauma informed breathwork facilitator can accurately recognize these signals when they arise, and support the client in de-escalating and ‘breathing through’ these discomforts to a more comfortable and relaxed state.
  3. Emotional Turmoil: Breathwork can bring up intense emotions, including fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, and grief. Participants may feel overwhelmed or out of control, which can be difficult to manage without proper support.
  4. Spiritual Crisis: Breathwork can bring up spiritual experiences that are challenging to integrate into everyday life. Participants may feel disconnected from their sense of self or feel as if they've lost touch with reality.
  5. Lack of Integration: Participants may have difficulty integrating the insights and experiences they have during a breathwork session into their daily life. This can lead to feelings of confusion, disorientation, or even depression.

It's important to note that not everyone will experience negative effects from breathwork, and many people find it to be a deeply transformative and healing experience. However, it's essential for practitioners to be trained in trauma-informed care and to provide a safe and supportive environment for their participants. It's also important for participants to be prepared for the intensity of the experience and to have support in place for after the session.

Introspective Breathwork™ is generally considered to be safer than many other forms of breathwork. This is because Introspective Breathwork™ places a strong emphasis on creating a safe and supportive environment for participants, as well as ensuring that the experience is empowering and non-invasive. This means that participants are given the choice to control the pace and depth of their breathing, and are encouraged to listen to their bodies and intuition throughout the process. Introspective Breathwork™ emphasizes self-awareness, introspection, and mindfulness. The goal is to become aware of one's thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations without judgment or attachment.

Introspective Breathwork™ also emphasizes the importance of grounding and centering techniques, which can help participants feel more present and connected with their bodies. This can be particularly helpful for individuals who have experienced trauma, as it can help them feel more embodied and less dissociated from their experiences. Overall, One Breath Institute's Introspective Breathwork™ is designed to be a safe and supportive practice that can help individuals heal from trauma and improve their overall well-being. The trauma-informed approach ensures that participants can engage in the practice in a way that feels empowering and healing, rather than re-traumatizing.

Introspective Breathwork™ practitioners are trained in trauma-informed care, and are skilled at creating a calm, non-judgmental, and supportive environment for participants. This can be particularly important for individuals who have experienced trauma, as they may need additional support and reassurance during the breathwork process.

Overall, while all forms of breathwork can be beneficial for personal growth and healing, it's important for individuals to consider their unique needs and experiences when choosing a breathwork approach. Introspective Breathwork™ can be an excellent choice for individuals who have experienced trauma, as it emphasizes safety, pacing, and self-regulation, and incorporates elements of trauma-informed care.

One Breath Institute helps to set the standard for trauma-informed breathwork, and is accredited by the Global Professional Breathwork Alliance. If you’re looking for a breathwork training program, we recommend only attending a school whose training is accredited by the Global Professional Breathwork Alliance (GPBA). The Global Professional Breathwork Alliance (GPBA) is a consortium of professional breathwork schools, trainers, and practitioners who support and promote the integration of breathwork in the world as an accessible and vital healing modality that facilitates physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual wellness. The GPBA is open to all breathwork practitioners and schools agreeing to uphold the principles of ethics and standards set forward by the Alliance. Also important to note–even though a school may be accredited through the GPBA, their training may not be trauma-informed.

In the context of One Breath Institute, trauma-informed training includes providing education on the prevalence and impact of trauma, the importance of safety and trust, and how to create a supportive and empowering environment for individuals who have experienced trauma.

Why Is Trauma-Informed Breathwork Important?

There are several reasons why it is important to be a trauma-informed breathwork practitioner. Here are just a few of the key benefits:

  1. Enhanced Safety: Trauma-informed breathwork creates a safe and supportive environment for clients. It emphasizes the importance of creating a sense of safety and trust, which is essential for individuals who have experienced trauma.
  2. Improved Outcomes: By being trauma-informed, breathwork practitioners can improve outcomes for their clients. This includes increased relaxation, improved emotional regulation, and enhanced overall well-being.
  3. Increased Empowerment: Trauma can leave individuals feeling powerless and helpless. By incorporating principles of empowerment into breathwork sessions, practitioners can help clients regain a sense of control and agency over their body and their life.
  4. Reduced Risk of Re-traumatization: It is common for past memories and emotions to resurface during a breathwork practice, including those that may have been difficult or traumatic. It’s important for the practitioner to recognize what is happening and know how to support their client when this happens in order to reduce the risk of retraumatization.

Here are a few examples of how trauma-informed breathwork has improved our clients' experiences:

  1. Improved Communication: Trauma-informed breathwork has helped our practitioners better communicate with clients who have experienced trauma. By understanding the impact of trauma on communication, we can be more patient and empathetic in our interactions with others.
  2. Enhanced Openness and Trust: By incorporating principles of trauma-informed care into our breathwork sessions, we have created a safe and trusting environment for clients. This has helped clients feel more comfortable opening up about their experiences and engaging in the healing process.
  3. Enhanced Personal Autonomy: Trauma-informed breathwork has helped clients regain a sense of control and agency over their body and their life. By incorporating principles of empowerment into our sessions, we have helped clients feel more empowered and in control of their healing journey.
  4. Improved Overall Health: Those who are free from the weight of holding onto past trauma in their bodies often feel ‘lighter’, are less likely to feel stressed and anxious, and are often more inclined to participate in activities that they both enjoy and are more conducive to improving their overall health and well-being.

Trauma-informed care is essential for breathwork practitioners who want to create a safe and supportive environment for clients. By being trauma-informed, practitioners can help clients feel more comfortable opening up about their experiences and engaging in the healing process. At One Breath Institute, we believe that trauma-informed breathwork is an essential tool for helping individuals heal and grow in a safe and empowering way. By incorporating principles of empowerment, safety, and trust, we have seen firsthand the powerful impact that trauma-informed breathwork can have on individuals' lives.

If you want to learn more about how Introspective Breathwork™ can be a powerful tool for transformation on all levels, check out Why Training In Somatic Therapy is Important.

This article was all about why Trauma Informed Training is Important in Breathwork

by Lisa McNett

Experience our empowering Breathwork Sessions for free, every Sunday

Start your journey towards becoming who you were meant to be with a free Introspective Breathwork™ Session, held every Sunday at 11am EST.

One Breath Institute logo